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ON24 Survey Shows Explosive Growth for Virtual Events in 2009

January 14th, 2009

Trade Shows, Conventions, Sales and Training Events Projected to Decline over 40%

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – January 14, 2009 – ON24, Inc., the global leader in webcasting and virtual events solutions, today announced the results of its survey of more than 10,000 enterprise executives which polled the anticipated use in 2009 of trade shows, conventions and sales training seminars against virtual events such as webinars and virtual shows. The survey showed a significant shift from physical to virtual events. While the economy likely played a major role in decision-making, respondents also valued the convenience, flexibility and additional capabilities provided by online participation.

Survey findings showed the following shift from physical to virtual events in 2009:

  • 42% expect participation in physical trade shows to be down by as much as 50%
  • 64% expect to have fewer physical sales kick off seminars — or none at all
  • 60% expect training, management and other internal events to be down 20 — 50%
  • A full 76% said their company has already begun using virtual events (53%) or plans to begin using them (23%) to supplement some of their physical events in 2009

Virtual Is In — For Convenience As Well As Cost

Cost savings aside, respondents generally found little they would miss about attending physical events and saw a number of advantages to virtual ones in terms of convenience and productivity.

While 61% said they would miss seeing people in person, less than half felt they would miss traveling to other locations (34%), enjoying the social activities (36%) or seeing speakers in person (20%).

Respondents found several aspects of virtual participation to be particularly appealing:

  • 75% appreciated that there is no travel required
  • 64% liked that they can attend the virtual sessions on their own time schedules
  • 58% found it useful to be able to “forward” to their colleagues virtual sessions that they thought would be of interest to them

More than one third of respondents cited the social networking benefits of virtual events, including the ability to see a list of all attendees in advance (35%); to contact other attendees online throughout the event (40%) and to get information on people (32%) and companies (34%) they meet electronically.

“While physical events will always be an important part of a company’s overall marketing, training and management strategy, virtual events have definitely reached their ‘tipping point’ in today’s business world,” said Denise Persson, ON24 Chief Marketing Officer. “The current economy makes online events alternatives very compelling, since they usually cost only a fraction of a physical one. But an equally important trend is that many employees are already participating in online social networking groups, so they are happy using these same behaviors to make the most of their company events. They are as comfortable developing relationships online as in person, and they prefer the greater amount of information and sharing that online events provide.”

About ON24, Inc.

ON24, Inc. is the global leader in webcasting and virtual events. ON24 provides a full range of innovative solutions for applications such as demand generation, corporate communications and training and continuing education. More than 700 organizations in publishing, technology, life sciences, government, and financial services rely on ON24, including IBM, Cisco, United Business Media, Credit Suisse, GE Healthcare, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and the National Science Foundation. ON24 is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York, London and Singapore.